Court document details murder of Wisconsin brothers

Prosecutors have charged Joseph Garland Nelson with two counts of first-degree murder in the disappearance of Nick and Justin Diemel.

Posted: Oct 23, 2019 4:42 PM
Updated: Oct 23, 2019 5:00 PM

(CALDWELL COUNTY, Mo.) Caldwell County Prosecutors announced Wednesday that Joseph Garland Nelson has been charged with murder in connection to the case of two missing brothers from Wisconsin.

Prosecutors have charged Nelson with two counts of first-degree murder in the disappearance of Nick and Justin Diemel. Nelson is also charged with two counts of abandonment of a corpse, two counts of tampering with physical evidence, two counts of armed criminal action, tampering with a motor vehicle, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

According to a probable cause statement, the brothers have been missing since July 21 after they traveled from Wisconsin to Missouri to retrieve a $250,000 check from Nelson for cattle. The Diemel's father reported his sons missing after they failed to make their flight home.

The court document states that Nelson gave many misleading explanations of events to mislead law enforcement from finding the brothers.

According to the probable cause statement, Nelson told authorities he acted alone and drove the truck the brother's rented from his property in Braymer to a commuter lot in Holt on July 21. The keys were left in the ignition and Nelson said he removed Nick and Justin's cell phones and disposed of them along the roadway while walking back to Holt where he arranged for someone to give him a ride to another location.

Authorities believe Nick and Justin never left the property when they arrived and were intentionally killed. When Nelson arrived back at the properly the statement shows he told investigators that he found two bodies believed to be Nick and Justin dead. Each body was inside of a 55-gallon metal barrel located in a pole barn.

According to the statement, the bodies were then moved one at a time in a skid loader bucket to an adjacent pasture. The bodies were burned after diesel fuel was poured on them. Nelson allegedly told investigators that one or both of the bodies were then placed into a manure pile by a metal barn. The barrels the bodies were burned in were then crushed by the skid loader and disposed on the property. Nelson then returned to the pole barn and used a shovel to remove what he believed to be blood from the floor where the it's believed the brothers were killed, according to the court document.

The affidavit also states that DNA from Nick Diemel was found on blood stained clothes that belonged to Nelson. A fired .30-30 caliber cartridge was also found in the same clothes. Nelson admitted to using a .30-30 caliber rifle to kill two small animals the day before the brothers arrived at the property, according to the court document.

The affidavit shows that a neighbor heard multiple gunshots coming from the direction of the property on July 21 during the same time Nelson said the brothers were on the property.

Human remains were discovered on the property after a lengthy search in July. Nelson was then charged with tampering with a motor vehicle. He has pleaded not guilty to that charge in October.

Nelson will appear on the new charges in Caldwell County court on Thursday.

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